Friday, March 18, 2011

Posting Update

I'm trying to figure out the best way/time to post here. I tried for a very long time to have it be daily and that works well until life gets in the way. I was considering doing posts 5 days a week and that works except I've been getting very busy on the weekdays now. So for now I think I'm going to post 2-3 times a week and build up a surplus of extra posts and then eventually move back up to 5 days a week and on those whild and crazy times I might even have one week a month that's a full 7.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chronological X-Men - Secret Wars II/X-Men-Alpha Flight Part 2 Review

Secret Wars II (part 2)/X-Men & Alpha Flight

The Uncanny X-Men #196 – What Was That?!

The bulk of this issue revolves around Charles overhearing a random thought about one of his students plotting to murder someone. It’s a plot that has been used many times and I’m pretty much over it. I would say that there’s an interesting twist when it comes to the intended murder victim actually being Charles himself but I pretty much saw that coming by the second page. The three subplots that run through the story are more interesting. Andrea and Andreas von Strucker take their revenge on Ororo by shooting her and leaving her for dead in the wild – for me that was the weakest of the three subplots but it was still enjoyable. I liked Kurt going to Father Bowen to talk about his crisis of faith and Rachel giving in to her hunter/tracker ways from her future timeline could have been expanded on more but oh well. I get the feeling that this is one of those issues where the writer had no idea where they were going with the plot so they just did all of the things that came to mind.

The Uncanny X-Men #197 – To Save Arcade?!?

Another filler issue here but this one was kind of enjoyable. We make some progress in the Nimrod plot and we start to see the beginnings of the rift between Scott and Madelyne when he returns home to check on Charles who is now letting Magneto run the school. It’s not a rift per-say but considering the future events and plots that drive Madelyne’s character it’s pretty obvious that this is where the cracks start to form. The main plot about Piotr and Kitty getting taken by Arcade was fun, honestly I didn’t see the fact that the person taking ‘revenge’ on Arcade wasn’t Doctor Doom at all but really Miss Locke and that it was just their tradition of Miss Locke trying to murder Arcade for his birthday. We get the explanation that the last time the X-Men fought Doctor Doom it was really a Doom-bot but that wasn’t needed for the plot of either of these two stories. The one thing I’m not sure of is how did Arcade know about Zsaji? Does Arcade have some sort of device that can tap into the people in Murderworld’s minds and pull out their fears, or did Arcade somehow learn about what happened the first time the Beyonder surfaced?

The Uncanny X-Men #198 – Lifedeath – From The Heart Of Darkness

Ororo is left fighting for her life after being shot in the head two issues ago. I thought the first time they did Lifedeath it was over hyped and I still feel this way with the second part of it. However it is a nice conclusion to how Ororo’s storyline started when she basically wanted to die than live without her powers and now she’s on the brink of death and she’s fighting for her life because she wants to live. Retrospectively it’s a decent story but deep down I wish that Shani, the pregnant woman that Ororo helps and Mjnari, the head of Shani’s village that now must die because there’s no room for him and the baby were also figments of Ororo’s mind like the hallucinations she had of the X-Men and Forge. I think the entire time I was just assuming that they were since Ororo was having difficulty getting around but no where near enough difficulty considering she had just been shot in her head.

X-Men/Alpha Flight #1 – The Gift I
X-Men/Alpha Flight #2 – The Gift II

There’s a whole lot of characters here in this mini series and that makes me glad that each of the two issues were ‘giant-sixed.’ For the X-Men we’ve got: Colossus, Nightcrawler, Professor Xavier, Rachel, Rogue, Wolverine, Shadowcat and Lockheed; Magik and Cypher (Doug) make a cameo which gives us two of the New Mutants; Scott and Madelyne are taking a flight with Carla Ballenger, Dr. Jeanne Chretien, Paul Domenic, Jaques Moreau, Sam Ross, Dr. Boyd Wilson and Nick Rodriguez and finally with Alpha Flight we have: Heather Hudson, Aurora/Jeanne-Marie, Northstar, Puck, Sasquatch, Shaman, Snowbird and Talisman. And none of that counts Loki, ‘Those who sit above in shadow,’ or the Snow Giants. It doesn’t really help either that basically everyone on Scott and Madelyne’s plane become different characters. The whole plot of the series is Loki trying to gain favor and is told he must do something that makes humanity better so he creates an area that elevates everyone to pretty much the status of ‘gods’ and gives them abilities based on their hearts desires. The only consequence is in order to do this all of the magic based beings are dying because Loki’s power is feeding off of them. There was one thing that really didn’t make sense to me and that was Piotr’s actions once he learned about this ‘new world’ killing off all of the magical people on Earth. I know that he’s from a very poor area of Russia and his family really had to struggle and that honestly he might not care too much about Snowbird or Shaman, but he still sides with the ‘new world’ knowing that it could very well mean the death of his sister (and other people he knows, interacts with and cares about.) The biggest reveal here is of course the fact that Madelyne is pregnant and with a boy; I do wish that we had the chance to see more of Rachel’s freak out over that. The scene at the end with Scott and Rachel is a nice touch but I really wanted just one little throw away scene with Rachel and Madelyne and Madelyne saying how much Rachel looks like she did ‘growing up.’

The Uncanny X-Men #196 – What Was That?!: C
The Uncanny X-Men #197 – To Save Arcade?!?: B
The Uncanny X-Men #198 – Lifedeath – From The Heart Of Darkness: B-
X-Men/Alpha Flight #1 – The Gift I: A
X-Men/Alpha Flight #2 – The Gift II: A

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Young Justice 108 Downtime Review

This new episode brings us a few new characters: Clayface, Black Manta, Lagoon Boy, Mera (Aquaman’s wife), Garth (the original Aqualad), a little cameo by Starro the Conqueror and we get Tula who is basically this incarnation’s version of Aquagirl. Batman and Aquaman are back. Obviously the main plot of this episode is all about Atlantis and how Aqualad is having a difficult time leading the Young Justice team because his heard is back home.

The little subplot with M’gann and Superboy back at the Justice Cave going about their daily lives was funny. I liked the idea of Superboy staring at the blank tv screen much more than M’gann’s romantic tension with Superboy. I also enjoyed that they showed us Bruce acting like a father figure to Dick who seems to be pushing himself harder than usual was a nice touch. Wally being at home with all of the other incarnations of the Flash was a nod to that character’s history but with all of the characters that are in this episode it’s a little hard to swallow this subplot.

I didn’t really care for all the ‘romantic’ stuff. Sure M’gann and Superboy have been building up for a while, but I really didn’t need the whole Mera being pregnant aspect to the story. Especially since she’s supposedly pregnant and it’s a big deal for there to finally be an heir and yet she’s right in the middle of a heated battle? Really? The whole Garth/Tula/Kaldur triangle didn’t need to be included at all. Especially considering this is the first time we’ve seen Tula and Garth and Kaldur hasn’t mentioned his feelings for Tula in any of the previous seven episodes.

You know that I’m not a fan of Artemis at all but it was odd that they revealed that she’s actually Artemis Crock so soon in the series. Much like the comic counterpart her mother is also Paula but she is a disabled Asian woman instead of her comic counter part. I’m not sure if her father will still be Sportsmaster, but considering she has the last name Crock (Sportsmaster’s real last name) instead of Brooks (her mother’s) I’m betting that’s not going to change. There were a few things that I wish they focused more on, like why/how her mother knows that Artemis is ‘Artemis’ – that reminds me a lot of the whole Arrowette thing. I really hate that the majority of Artemis’ plot is nothing more than retooled Cissie plots. I do like the idea that Bruce granted Artemis the scholarship and I’m willing to bet that it’s so Dick could keep tabs on her because Bruce doesn’t trust her.
Maybe if they cut out the ‘romantic’ stuff they could have had time for more than one scene with Wally at home, answered some of those questions about Artemis or even have shown us more than one throw away scene at the end of the episode revealing that Black Manta is also working for The Light.

Rating: B-

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Young Justice 107 Denial Review

Well now we have the ‘magic/supernatural’ episode that almost every genre show does and DC is a universe that is filled with many magical characters and we get quite a few of them introduced in this episode. First off we have Kent Nelson, none other than Doctor Fate who travels to New Orleans to visit Madame Xanadu. He asks Madame Zanadu to contact his wife and then quickly outs her as a charlatan but acknowledges that she has true magical potential – not odd considering her role in the DCU. Abra Kadabra kidnaps Doctor Fate and takes him to Klarion (bum bum bum – sorry.. old YJ comic joke) the Witch Boy who are after Doctor Fate’s helmet to basically take over the world.

Robin is MIA for this episode and that actually works because with the FOUR guest characters it is a little crowded, plus it helps to pair the team up differently which actually makes for more fun. I loved the bickering between Artemis and Wally but it does make me wish that they had gone with Cissie and Bart instead because I always had a soft spot for them and their relationship in YJ and Impulse. But I’ll take my fanservice where I can get it. I actually liked Aqualad, Miss Martian and Superboy grouping up, it made M’gann less annoying, but it only helped to make Aqualad more boring.

The idea of playing off of Wally not being able to accept that magic is real is a nice touch, but for it to come this soon in the series it seems a little too rushed for personal growth. I’m a little confused by why M’gann was so willing to accept and believe in the supernatural. I guess some belief can be suspended because of her being Martian and all, but I don’t know much about her character so who knows. Mars could be filled with supernatural beings.

Fate possessing Wally was good and the fact that he’s keeping the helmet until the right person comes along makes me think that maybe if they do decided to do a rotating cast of characters we might get a teenage Doctor Fate. The shelf with all of the masks/helmets of the people they’ve encountered in battle makes me think that once the traitor is outted that their mask if they have one (I’m looking at you little miss generic replacement for Arrowette) will go next to Fate’s helmet.

All in all, the episode was a big improvement over the last one. I just hope the show can keep up this upswing and momentum until there’s another blah episode.

Rating: B

Monday, March 14, 2011

Charmed Season 9 Issue 7 'The Heir Up There' Review

Next up we have the most recent issue of Charmed, and this one only about a week after it came out! We have another great play on the history of the show here by the return of Kyle Brody. Apparently since he died in 2004 he spent the next five years as a Whitelighter and eventually worked his way up to the status of Elder. That’s not the only new piece of information – we find out that the Elders altered Melinda in order to make her also ‘twice blessed’ just like Wyatt. While it’s never specifically said that Chris is also twice blessed given the fact that he also has orb-based powers it’s safe to assume that. But it would have been kind of funny if older Chris was still around just to see his inferiority complex when he finds out that Melinda also has her own prophecy just like Wyatt.

We get a more fleshed out back story for Leo – which considering this storyline appears to focus more on him than the previous two I’m sure we’ll be getting a lot more information as it progresses. It turns out that Leo’s reward for battling an evil Darklighter Rennek was to be the Charmed Ones’ Whitelighter. It’s a nice little piece of information but its hard to consider that keeping the Charmed Ones lives is a reward.

Neena is back and is slaughtering vampires – I’m going under the assumption that it is because they won’t get in line with her plan. The only exception appears to be the current Vampire Queen Lorna who knows Neena and at some point betrayed her. Neena also seems to have ties to Rennek because he knows that she also goes by Isabel (a character that appears in ‘To The Warren Born’ I just haven’t covered it yet) and Victoria and he’s one of the few people that actually knows who and what Neena is.

I want to be fair about this issue but there is something about it that just seems off. I don’t know if it’s because there’s a new storyline starting or if it’s just sort of boring. I think it will take at least another issue for me to get a better grasp on the overall tone of this story – it should pick up soon considering that this arc is also going to be 5 issues and we’re already one into it. So far this is my least favorite issue, but only time will tell if that changes once I getter a better grasp on the actual story.

Rating: C

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Charmed Season 9 Issue 6 'Morality Bites Back' Review

I went into this issue thinking that it’s going to be one of those things that all of the things that make it good are also the things that make it bad. Anyone who I’ve ever talked Charmed with knows that I absolutely cannot stand Phoebe  so the fact that this entire issue was going to be devoted to her came to bat with one strike already. The fact that this story is a continuation of the episode “Morality Bites” from season two was almost a slap in the face because of Prue existing in that potential future. Obviously things have changed, Paige now exists, and there are many more kids than just Melinda and obviously Phoebe isn’t on trial for the murder of Cal Greene. But lets be honest here, the second strike isn’t all of the extra kids or the fact that Paige exists – you know me… it’s all about the lack of Prue.

We don’t really get anybody new this time out – sure there’s the messenger Cherub but I really doubt that he’ll play a bigger role in the series. Cal Greene, and Nathaniel Pratt make their comic introductions – both of them were seen only in Morality Bites. Cal was the baseball player that Phoebe killed, and Nathaniel was the guy who kept walking his dog on the Halliwell’s yard and then in the future was the DA that prosecuted Phoebe. Finally after many mentions Elise Rothman finally makes her appearance in the comics and Mika makes her second appearance – but she looks different than the first time around. Nothing major, just younger than she first came off.

The good thing about this issue is that it sets a very specific timeline. Phoebe was executed in 2009, now even if you assume that given that she was publically outted as a witch she had a very speedy trial then Season 9 has to take place sometime between 2008 and February 26th 2009 because that’s the date the sisters travel to back in season two. Now when you think about  how Phoebe isn’t even in custody, let alone about to be executed then it’s safe to assume that these events happen in late 2008 or even January 2009.

I like that this issue did tie up some things. Phoebe killed Cal with her Empathy power by focusing all of Cal’s rage on himself. Like I said it already cleared up the timeframe. We find out that the friend that Cal murdered was actually Elise. I’m not too sure that I’m on board with this. Part of me wished that they played off of the ‘Power of Three’ and that in the future where Prue lived that the person Cal murdered was Paige and that it was shortly after Prue, Piper and Phoebe found out about her. They could have turned it into the reason for there being four Charmed Ones was because one of them was always destined to die.

I am interested to see where they’re going to go with the fact that Elise now knows that Phoebe (and at the very least I’m assuming Paige since she healed her) is a witch. How much did Phoebe tell Elise, did she leave it as just being a witch or did she tell her everything? Now that Elise knows are we going to see more of her having to cover for Phoebe at work or have we officially started the Elise Rothman Deathwatch Clock? All in all, it was a good issue – much better than I thought it was going to be.

Rating: A+

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Young Justice Issue 1 'Haunted' Review

I decided to give the new Young Justice comic book another shot – partly because I really enjoyed the first issue but mostly because of my weird Fandom OCD and the fact that this series covers things that happen in between the episodes. While the first issue takes place between the last two scenes of the one hour pilot this issue takes place right after the team meets Miss Martian at the end of the first episode. The plot revolves around Superboy officially moving into the cave. The panels with M’gann and Superboy going from room to room trying to pick out bedrooms for themselves since they’ll be the ones living there full time were fun. It amazes me how much less annoying M’gann is in the comics compared to how she is portrayed on the cartoon. I like that they put Snapper Carr in – I liked his involvement in the original series so I hope they find away to bring this incarnation into the fold more often. This idea that someone – either Superboy or Snapper are going to lead to the destruction of the Justice League is interesting (again I hope it’s Snapper so he can hang around more) and it plays in nicely with the theme of the cartoon. I don’t know how I feel about the Joker being in this issue, yes he plays an important role in the DCU in general but he’s not a Super-family villain, and he’s no where near powerful enough for him to knock Superboy down like he did. I still don’t know what to think about this series because the pacing is really off, but Superboy doesn’t talk much in this incarnation so for them to split the focus of the issue between M’gann who tends to babble, and Superboy who doesn’t speak much makes the Superboy centric pages too quick of a read. It actually only took me at most two minutes (more than likely less) to read this issue.

Young Justice #1 – Haunted: B

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

MotUC: Shadow Beast: Action Figure Review

Today I’m going to look at the first ‘over-sized’ beast/figure that I own for the Masters of the Universe Classics line. I’ll be honest here; I wasn’t looking forward to this figure at all. There are some beasts I really want (Battle Cat, Panthor, Cringer, Spirit, Swiftwind, Clawdeen and Storm – so basically all the main steeds of the group leaders) but I don’t have any use for at least half of the animals. There’s just no attachment to this particular character for me and the 30 dollar price tag doesn’t help win it any points. The tagline ‘evil creature of darkness’ is really good.

The package is HUGE and that’s actually a bit of an understatement. Now I don’t have Gygor, Tytus, Battle Cat, Skeletor and Mo-Larr or the palace Guards two pack so I have no idea how much of a difference there is between the sizes of those packages. I can say that the white mailer box is big enough to actually fit two of the regular figures’ white mailer boxes in them comfortably. The actual package is big, a lot bigger than the regular figures but also there’s more free space in the package. I’m not entirely sure why they did that.

Now on to the bio:

Real Name: Varies
Great ape-like beasts who live in tribes throughout the dark hemisphere, Shadow Beasts can only come out in the absence of light. Originally created by Count Marzo as a weapon to use against his enemies, the beasts were driven back by Princes Keldor and Randor and forced to reside in the shadows of Mount Barathrum. There they developed a long standing hatred of both the Human and Gar race. Easily manipulated, the ever growing colony of Beasts was later controlled by Beast Man in the service of Skeletor to take down Eternos Palace. With their great strength and stealth-like appearance, Shadow Beasts are more than a match for heroic warriors!

The back of the package is a bit off. I’m not sure where they got the image of the Shadow Beasts from for the image in the bio but it’s nice nonetheless. I hate that after all this time that Mattel still cannot figure out how to place the correct figures on the back of packages. We have Skeletor, Trap Jaw, Tri-Klops, Evil-Lyn, Webstor, Beast Man, Whiplash and Scareglow. Beat Man makes sense because he can control animals, Skeletor makes sense too, I guess you can justify Evil-Lyn because she freed Marzo. But the entire bio speaks about how Marzo created these beasts and how Randor and Keldor defeated them; it would make much more sense if the figures on the back were: Beast Man, Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, Count Marzo, King Randor, Keldor, Teela, He-Man and Man-at-Arms. If they didn’t want to have two versions of the same character on the package that’s fine but Marzo really needed to be on there especially over Scareglow.

The articulation is different than the standard figure. You have rotation on the feet, hands, head and thighs. The shoulders, elbows and bicep joints are the same as the regular figures. There is no articulation on the abs, waist or knees. The head is also not removable. Mattel has said that they needed to cast the larger figures differently in order to make them more affordable and that’s fine but at the same time it’s odd to see a figure like Battle Cat who is so articulated, Tytus who is really lacking in articulation and then the Shadow Beasts who should fall somewhere in between have the same articulation as the largest figure of the line. I guess the different casting is also why the plastic (on mine at least) in the torso area is rather squishy – if you listen carefully you can even hear the air move out of the joint holes if you squeeze the stomach.

There isn’t much new sculpting – Shadow Beasts basically share the same buck as Gygor only with new hands, feet and a new head. The feet came out really well and the hands are nice too but they seem a bit weird with just the three fingers. The head is much better than I thought it was going to be the horn isn’t too weird looking, but it is odd that the image they used in the bio has two horns yet the head only has one (the same can be said for the color differences between the bio image and then the images of the figure and the figure itself) my only wish for the head sculpt would have been that they made a hinged jaw.

There isn’t much in the way of accessories here. You’d think that would work against the figure because of all the armor pieces that came with Gygor but there really isn’t much else they could give the Shadow Bests aside from the club and the club is pretty amazing. It’s actually my favorite part of the entire figure. The detail on it is simply amazing it really does look like a ripped out part of a tree with metal spikes shoved into it.

Figure Rating: B
It would have been a C just because I’m so ‘meh’ about the figure in general but the club really saved it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Charmed Season 9 Issue 5 'Unnatural Resources' Review

Well now that I’m home I’m trying to play catch up and that brings me to Charmed Season 9 Issue 5 ‘Unnatural Resources.’ I’ve been a huge fan of  the use of history within this comic but at the same time I haven’t sat silently by and not voiced my thoughts on the history they’re choosing to leave out (for whatever reasons.) With this issue we do get a bit of a resolve with that when we finally see Grams and Billie for the first time this season - they were in the Book of Shadows along with Prue, Cole and the older versions of Chris and Wyatt but this is their first real appearances this year. There are more ties to the history when Piper uses Excalibur while Paige goes and collects small portions of magic from Billie, Mermaids, Leprechauns, Fairies, Nymphs and Unicorns.

I really liked this particular issue, but I think it might have been better suited as a double sized story – it would have helped to make certain things feel less rushed. Billie for example, it’s great that she’s here but when they’re going up against The Source and there’s this history of Prue dying because of it and how Billie ended up having to kill her own sister to save the world even something as simple as Paige trying to stop Billie from rejoining the fight by saying something like ‘haven’t both of our families lost enough already’ would have gone miles to make the story feel heavier than it is.

I get why they killed off Hogan, I mean this is the Source, and there’s multiple seasons worth of history establishing the fact that whenever he comes back someone HAS to die but again – rushed. There were a few unanswered questions like why Piper’s daughter Melinda can telekinetically orb; or what exactly Nina is; but I get the feeling that those two things will play larger roles in the near future. I do want an explanation as to why Paige named her children Tamora and Kat though; almost all of the kid’s names make sense except for those. There really isn’t anything much else to say that I haven’t said before: I want more Billie, and I actually like the idea of Tyler sticking around for a while but the problem is that he doesn’t really have established characters to interact with. He’s too young to spend all his time around Phoebe, Piper, Paige, Leo, Coop and Henry, he’s far too old to spend his time with all of the Halliwell kids and even if Billie was around more, or they brought back Future!Chris they’re both too to be around him.

Rating: A+

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chronological X-Men - Secret Wars II Part 1 Review

Secret Wars II (review part 1)

Dazzler #37 – The Girl in the Machine

Alison gets a call from an old friend of hers asking for help and Alison jumps at the chance to reconnect with her. The only problem is when she reaches Diana’s home she is told that Diana died over six months ago! We see the return of Revenge Inc which was nice but between their return, Diana’s involvement and the whole story behind Revenge Inc using Diana and giving her those operations that eventually caused her to be absorbed into this machine that apparently only she could use and then turn against them was a bit too much and it made it seem forced. This story could have easily been more than one issue, or they should have had a few things here and there that led up to it. Sure there’s the Revenge Inc thing, but we’ve never even heard of Diana Simon before this particular issue. It didn’t need to be a B or C plot in other issues, but at least one page or 2-3 panels here and there would have made this story better than it was.

Dazzler #38 – Challenge

See this right here – the few pages with O.Z. Chase and that mysterious man that we don’t see who suddenly turns to a pile of dust is exactly what I was talking about in the previous issue. There needs to be some kind of build up to the plots – it doesn’t need to have the bulk of an issue devoted to it, but it’s a perfect thing to put in to beef up stand alone stories, or filler issues. I was actually much more interested in the whole bounty hunter thing and that mysterious figure than I was about the main plot. It jumps around too much First Logan and Piotr are fighting Alison then it flashes back to Alison going to the X-Men wanting to train her new powers. There were just too many weird things. I understand Logan’s disgust at Alison wanting to train when she has no interest in being a super hero. I don’t understand why Piotr is all gaga over Alison when he’s busy ‘not loving’ Kitty. Rogue being all pro Alison is odd considering the two of them despise each other and I have no idea why Scott shows up out of the blue.

The New Mutants #29 – Meanwhile, Back at the Mansion…

Roberto and Amara are kidnapped by members of the Gladiators and it’s up to Sam and Illyana to save them. We see the return of the Gladiators from the Beauty and the Beast miniseries as well as Lila Cheney, Dazzler (obviously), Magneto and Lee Forrester. We have the first appearance of Guido Carosella AKA Strong Guy. Charles and the rest of the New Mutants are still on Muir Island so we basically only get Amara, Roberto, Sam and Illyana this time. There isn’t really much to say about this issue, Roberto and Amara stay with the Gladiators to save a bunch of runaway children; Charles contacts Magneto to let him know that the Beyonder has returned and charges Magneto to assemble a team to go up against him to save the world (Illyana and Sam join).

The Uncanny X-Men #195 – It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

We meet The Power Pack for the first time which I guess is okay – honestly I don’t feel one way or another about their appearance here. The X-Men are a little too old to be dealing with kids that young, it would have fit a bit better if this happened in The New Mutants title instead of Uncanny X-men but what can you do? The Morlocks are back: Annalee is still suffering from the murder of her children (they were killed in Uncanny X-Men #193), Leech, Callisto, Masque and Sunder we’ve seen before, I think this is the first time we’ve seen Ape or at the very least the first time Ape has had more than just a group shot in the X-Books I mean. Beautiful Dreamer, Erg and Tar Baby show up for the first time in this book. I’m not really sure where Kurt or Piotr are or why their absence means that Kitty is running point on this mission, especially over a tracker like Logan or a telepath like Rachel. It was a good issue though which is fine by me. Of course we have the build up to Secret Wars II here too because Rachel is summoned telepathically by Magneto ordering that she (how he knows about her I have no idea) and the rest of the X-Men return to the mansion immediately.

Secret Wars II #1 – Earthfall!

You know, I thought that the first Secret Wars series was packed with characters but this one takes the cake. This is just the first issue and we’ve got: The Beyonder, Molecule Man, Volcana, Wolfsbane, Warlock, Mirage, Cannonball, Magik, Captain America, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Shadowcat, Magneto, Rogue, Rachel Summers, Iron Man (James), Tony Stark, Professor X, Moria MacTaggert, David Haller (Legion) Dazzler, Lila Cheney and Doug Ramsey *who for some reason is colored with black hair that makes him look like Roberto. We get a new character ‘Thundersword’ who is a TV writer who obtains a portion of the Beyonder’s power and pretty much goes crazy. I do like the idea of a potential inside joke looking back on it. The writer is sick of having to play by everyone’s rules and just wants to write what he wants to write. It’s funny once you consider that many X-book writers expressed their dislike of having to throw away their own plots to fit in with massive title wide crossovers and events. I like the concept of The Beyonder wanting to learn and grow but I think I need to see more of it before I can really judge it.

The New Mutants #30 – The Singer & Her Song
The New Mutants #31 – Saturday Night Fight

After having the evil portion of her soul pulled out into the open and becoming the demonic Darkchilde by the Beyonder Illyana transports herself, Rachel, Sam, Kitty and Dazzler to Limbo. Kitty manages to take Illyana’s Soulsword and use it on Illyana which effectively causes Darkchilde’s essence to retreat back into Illyana’s soul. From there the group returns to LA where they find that the Beyonder, X-Men, Captain America, Iron Man and Lila Cheney have all vanished. Kitty steps up as the leader of the group and they make their way back to the Gladiators to try once again to free Roberto and Amara. The big reveal here is that the mysterious person that has been running the Gladiators is really Xi’an Coy Manh! Obviously they can’t give out all the details of her sudden resurrection or why she has changed not only in behavior but drastically in the looks department as well. What is kind of explained is why the sudden change in the Gladiators mindset; while it’s not expressly said I’m choosing to believe that is why they returned to their old ways. Ultimately Xi’an gets away and Kitty decides that the New Mutants need to go on their own and track down Karma while she, Rachel, and Alison reconnect with the X-Men.

Dazzler #37 – The Girl in the Machine: B
Dazzler #38 – Challenge: C
The New Mutants #29 – Meanwhile, Back at the Mansion…: B
The Uncanny X-Men #195 – It Was A Dark And Stormy Night: A
Secret Wars II #1 – Earthfall!: B
The New Mutants #30 – The Singer & Her Song: A
The New Mutants #31 – Saturday Night Fight: B